Trade opens its heart to the environment

‘Green’ practices are being adopted by more operators looking to cut costs

Way of the future: Scottish Water Horizons’ Deerdykes recycling facility, located outside Cumbernauld

SCOTTISH operators are waking up to the advantages of environmentally-friendly practices, according to specialists in the field.

While embracing environmental systems can involve initial investment, it seems more businesses are realising that money can be saved in the long-term by adopting greener business practices.
“The [economic] decline has driven many companies to review their practices, resulting in many recognising that efficiency in use of energy and water can reap financial benefits,” said Denise Connelly, hospitality, tourism and events manager at Zero Waste Scotland.
And it seems it’s not just larger hotel and restaurant businesses that are switching on to greener ways of operating.

By utilising advances in technology operators can save on energy and overheads.

Brian Pirie, sales and contracts manager at Scottish Water Horizons, the commercial arm of Scottish Water, said hospitality businesses of all sizes now have glass and other recycling collections in place.
However, it seems there is still room for improvement when it comes to reducing food waste.
“Diverting food waste from the general waste stream could lead to a reduction in general waste collection and disposal costs as the general waste is likely to end up in landfill which will be subject to landfill charges as well as increasing landfill tax,” said Pirie.
“By segregating food waste, businesses can also get a better understanding of where the waste is being generated, which can help to identify ways of changing business practices – for example, alterations to purchasing to reduce the amount of waste generated.”
Businesses are also reckoned to be more accepting of the initial costs associated with introducing environmental procedures, as they appreciate the “long term benefits”.
“For example, landfill tax is set to increase year on year so by finding alternative routes for this waste, companies are not only avoiding the negative environmental impact of sending waste to landfill, they are also helping to avoid these tax increases,” added Pirie.
Investment in new ‘green’ technology should also be viewed long-term, according to Simon Frost, UK country manager for catering equipment supplier Wexiödisk.
“Although significant consideration should be given to the initial cost of the equipment, caterers must consider the ‘whole-of-life’ cost,” said Frost.
“With many units providing superior energy-saving features and benefits, the establishment will often find that in the long run they would actually be saving money, compared to not purchasing the equipment initially.”
According to Frost, the kitchen is one of the key areas where environmentally-friendly technology can help operators to cut costs.
“Commercial kitchens are by far the biggest user of energy within an establishment,” he said.
“Refrigeration equipment is on [all] day and ovens, lighting and extractor equipment combine to vastly increase energy consumption within an outlet.
“It is, however, the equipment that can make a real difference when it comes to energy saving.”
Citing warewashing as an example, Frost said a traditional machine would use around four litres of fresh water for a standard cycle as well as electricity and cleaning chemicals.
“By utilising advances in modern equipment, operators can dramatically reduce this and save on both energy consumption and overheads,” he said.
Such is the potential for improving energy efficiency in licensed trade kitchens that some suppliers are tailoring products specifically to the hospitality industry.
Samsung, for example, claims its new washer and dryer range can provide “significant” savings to leisure operators by reducing the energy used by the machines.
The first step any business should take is to find out how energy efficient they are, according to Connelly, at Zero Waste Scotland, which has an online tool to help operators develop a waste prevention plan for their businesses.
“Resource efficiency is always good news for business and many activities can be implemented at low or no cost to your company with immediate payback,” she said.

Image – Way of the future: Scottish Water Horizons’ Deerdykes recycling facility, located outside Cumbernauld.